Brake, the road safety charity, is launching a campaign in response to its own survey which reveals that nearly half of drivers talk on their mobile phones while driving.
According to the survey, released today (29 March), in collaboration with Direct Line, 48% of respondents admitted to talking on a phone while driving, of which 65% flout the law by using a hand-held phone. And 25% said they talk on their phone while driving at least once a week.
In an effort to address the problem, Brake and Direct Line are launching a campaign which urges drivers to ‘drive smart’ by putting their phones out of sight while driving.
The campaign warns that using a hands-free or hand-held phone at the wheel can lengthen reaction times to an extent similar to drink driving. Billboard adverts will run across London in an effort to get the message across.
Men are slightly more likely to chat on a phone than women (50% compared to 47%), and young drivers are slightly more likely than older drivers (52% compared to 48%). However, far more young drivers than older drivers break the law by using a hand-held phone (41% compared to 30%).
Young drivers are also far more likely than older drivers to use their phones to text, email or surf the web at the wheel. 44% of young drivers admitted to texting at the wheel, compared to 27% of older drivers. Furthermore, 21% of young drivers email, go online or use apps while driving, compared to 9% of older drivers.
Julie Townsend, Brake deputy chief executive, said: “Use a phone while driving and you are taking a horrendous risk with your own life and the lives of others. Many drivers who wouldn’t dream of drink-driving are using phones while driving, oblivious that the effect on your reaction times can be similar.
“We’re urging people to drive smart, recognising that phone use at the wheel can and does destroy lives, and no call or text is ever that important. If you need to use your phone urgently, pull over somewhere safe first: it’s as simple as that. We are also calling on the Government to do more to tackle phone use at the wheel, including banning hands-free phones and bringing in far stiffer penalties.”
For more information contact Ellen Booth on 01484 550067.